Archive for March, 2016

Lewis County prosecutors lose track of key witness in rape case, drop charges

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Instead of going to trial next week for rape and kidnapping, a 25-year-old Salkum resident was sentenced to 60 days in jail and given credit for 60 days already served.

Joel L. Kaech was arrested on Jan. 31 after a 32-year-old woman reportedly ran away from Kaech at the skate park across Harrison Avenue in Centralia and made contact with police.

She spoke of she and a mutual friend being picked up by Kaech in Longview, and Kaech kicking the friend out of the car and then an unspecified period of time in which the two drove to several places in Lewis County, during which she was sexually assaulted.

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Joel L. Kaech / File photo

Kaech was initially charged with two counts of first-degree rape, one count of first-degree kidnapping, one count of felony harassment and possession of methamphetamine.

Yesterday, all the charges but the drug offense were dismissed at the request of the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said they want to prosecute the case, but they’ve lost touch with the victim.

While she was initially cooperative, they can’t find her, Meagher said.

“We just couldn’t do it, and we were up against speedy trial (rules),” he said.

The charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning they can be refiled at a later date, Meagher said.

He spoke of the pressures placed on such victims, that make it difficult to follow through with the criminal proceedings. He also noted how keeping connected with victims is something the office spends a tremendous amount of time on.

“I hope she’s okay, and I hope she checks in with us,” he said.

Kaech pleaded guilty yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court to possession of methamphetamine and was ordered to make monthly payments on $2,300 worth of fines. He’s already served his 60-day sentence.

The judge found chemical dependency contributed to the crime and also ordered him to undergo an evaluation and comply with treatment. Kaech will be on community custody for 12 months.

He remains confined in the Lewis County Jail without bail today however for something described on the jail’s roster as “other agency hold.”
•••

For background, read “Rape investigation: Salkum man held with no bail, no charges” from Monday February 1, 2016, here

News brief: Lengthy sentence expected for burglarizing prosecutor’s house

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Centralia woman accused of breaking into Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer’s home is facing a recommended prison term of seven years after admitting her crimes to a judge yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court.

Janet L. Gleason, 43, pleaded guilty yesterday in two separate cases, one for drugs, the other for the Centralia burglary.

For the Feb. 10, 2015 offense on Mount Vista Road, she is convicted of residential burglary, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and second-degree malicious mischief.

For her Sept. 17, 2015 encounter with detectives, she is convicted of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.

Pacific County Prosecutor Mark McClain was asked to handle her case, because of the conflict. She is represented by Michael Underwood.

Court documents indicate McClain will ask that she be sentenced to 84 months when she returns to court on May 11.
•••

For background, read “Role reversal: Lewis County prosecutor reflects on becoming a burglary victim” from Friday November 6, 2015, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, March 31st, 2016
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•••

Updated at 4:37 p.m.

MAN BEATEN WITH BRASS KNUCKLES

• Centralia police reported this morning they were searching for an individual who assaulted a 35-year-old man using brass knuckles. Officers responding about 2:20 a.m. today to the area of Lakeshore Drive and Marsh Avenue found the victim had cuts to his head as well as some defensive wounds, according to the Centralia Police Department. A suspect was identified and is being sought for second-degree assault, according to police.

VALUABLE LOGGING TOOL TAKEN, WITH TRUCK

• A deputy was called about 2:30 a.m. yesterday to the 200 block of Keasling Road south of Chehalis following the discovery that a 1995 Ford F350 crew cab, which had its keys left inside the evening before, was missing from a commercial equipment yard. Also stolen from B and M Logging were three chainsaws and other tools including a specialty computer driven tool useful only to the business, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The specialty tool alone is estimated at $10,000, according to the sheriff’s office.

OTHER VEHICLE THEFT

• Chehalis police were called just after 6 a.m. today to the 500 block of Northwest Center Street when an individual stepped back inside while leaving the motor running in an unlocked Toyota pickup and shortly thereafter saw the vehicle was gone. The truck is a flat red color with a black canopy, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The victim’s wallet was inside the truck, police were told.

CAR PROWL

• An unknown suspect broke a window on a locked car a the 900 block of South Scheuber Road in Centralia and stole a backpack, according to a report made to police at about 4 a.m. today.

TEN-THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH OF POWDER HEROIN

• A 50-year-old man was brought before a judge yesterday facing numerous charges following his arrest the day before by local drug detectives. Members of the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team went looking for David L. Waldeck on Tuesday after getting information he was staying in the Toledo area. Charging documents state he gave consent for his vehicle to be searched and “more than user amount” of powder heroin was located as well as an unspecified amount of methamphetamine, a digital scale and several small empty plastic baggies. Waldeck had been contacted on March 8 by detectives, who made similar finds in his vehicle and then released him upon his promise to contact law enforcement related to his drug activity, the documents alleged. Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh told the judge yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court the first find consisted of 70 grams of powder heroin with a $10,000 street value. His failure to contact detectives afterward was what prompted their interest in finding him this week, according to the court documents. Allegedly selling heroin to an informant twice since Feb. 1 was what led to the contact earlier this month. Detectives also on Tuesday found amongst Waldeck’s belongings a “large amount” of money, Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello wrote. The location for each of the events related to the alleged illegal activity is described only as Lewis County. He was charged yesterday with three counts of selling heroin for profit, two counts of possession of heroin with intent to deliver, and two counts of possession of meth. His bail was set at $100,000. Court documents show Waldeck with an address in Port Orchard.

STRIP MALL ROOF SEARCHED

• Chehalis police were called about 8:35 p.m. yesterday when someone was heard on the roof of the Dollar Tree at the Twin City Town Center. A police dog got involved and a fire department ladder truck was requested to the 1400 block of Louisiana Avenue, but a spokesperson for the Chehalis Police Department said this morning she didn’t yet have any information about who, if anyone, was located.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• A 22-year-old Glenoma woman suffered a laceration to her face when her car struck the front of a nearly stopped road grader about 8 a.m. yesterday on the 500 block of Meade Hill Road in Glenoma. The 41-year-old operator of the county vehicle had seen her coming from around a series of “S” curves and veered to the right, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 2013 Honda Accord sustained major damage and the patient was transported to Morton General Hospital for treatment, according to the sheriff’s office. She had been wearing her seat belt, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. She was cited for a violation of “keep right except when passing,” Brown said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, misdemeanor assault, third-degree malicious mischief, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, vandalism, harassment, disorderly person, third-degree theft, runaway juvenile, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, graffiti in a restroom … and more, among 178 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 6:30 a.m. today.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016
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•••

LAW ENFORCEMENT: CHECK PRINTING SCHEME UNCOVERED

• A 36-year-old Cinebar man who allegedly travels with a printer and a computer to create fraudulent checks was arrested yesterday after a short vehicle pursuit that ended at the 200 block of Third Street East in Onalaska. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said it has been investigating Richard R. Perry Jr. since the end of December and got information about 1 p.m. yesterday he was in the Onalaksa area. Cmdr. Dusty Breen said the case involved 12 checks cashed in six Lewis County locations totaling $4,377.08. Perry was booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged today with first-degree theft, five counts of second-degree identity theft and attempt to elude. Breen noted cases for five other individuals who allegedly helped pass the checks, on the account of a non-profit organization that feeds homeless people, were referred to prosecutors for possible charging. Charging documents for Perry indicate several law enforcement agencies already investigating Perry, including Chehalis Tribal Police, Olympia Police Department, Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and the Centralia Police Department. Perry allegedly told a deputy he received a check from the Sidewalk company from a local man and scanned it into his computer, then would modify it to make it look like paychecks. Among the locations and amounts were Brenda’s Market on state Route 508 for $202.05, the Lucky Eagle Casino for as much as $830.59, Safeway and two check cashing businesses, according to court documents. Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Nelson today indicated to a Lewis County Superior Court judge authorities have identified at least 17 counts. He requested and was granted bail to be set at $50,000.

RECOVERED STOLEN VEHICLE

• A 30-year-old man was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle yesterday morning when deputies went to the 100 block of Harold Drive south of Chehalis in response to a report the missing vehicle was there. A deputy knocked, the door opened and a dog opened the door wider, according to authorities. A deputy detained a male he believed to be someone with a warrant, the male gave another name – of a real person who had an outstanding warrant – but he turned out to be Matthew L. Emery, according to court documents. Missing and/or damaged were a CD player, speakers and an amplifier, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Emery was booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged today also with second-degree identity theft. The vehicle had been stolen from a 23-year-old Centralia man. Emery lives in either Chehalis or Pacific Beach.

RECKLESSNESS

• Centralia police were called about 7:45 p.m. yesterday to the 600 block of West Third Street where an individual allegedly drove his vehicle into a front yard nearly striking pedestrians during a neighborhood dispute. John J. Showers, 38, of Centralia was cited for reckless endangerment and then released pending a court date, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called just after 8 o’clock this morning about a vehicle prowl at the 200 block of Jackson Street. Documents were missing from inside the vehicle, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police took a report of a vehicle prowl yesterday afternoon at the 600 block of Centralia College Boulevard in Centralia. Missing was prescription medication, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, shoplifting, dispute, vandalism, third-degree theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more, among 154 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

News brief: Elementary school employee released as ‘hug’ case progresses

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 36-year-old Chehalis man accused of hugging a 9-year-old year-old female student in an inappropriate manner went before a judge today where a prosecutor asked the charge of fourth-degree assault be modified to include a special allegation it occurred “with sexual motivation.”

James Denning was arrested yesterday and booked into the Lewis County Jail but was released prior to today’s hearing in Chehalis Municipal Court.

Chehalis police yesterday said the arrest followed an investigation of a March 14 report from staff at R.E. Bennett Elementary School on South Market Boulevard in Chehalis. Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said Denning was not a teacher, but was an employee who helped at recess.

The Chehalis School DIstrict announced on its web site Denning was a temporary playground assistant. He was placed on paid administrative leave March 14 pending further investigation and has resigned.

Assault in the fourth degree is a gross misdemeanor.

School authorities offered a small amount of detail on the incident.

“The school district has been asked if it is against school policy for employees to hug students,” the web site message stated. “The answer is: no, it is not generally inappropriate for employees to hug students. But, this case involved an allegation of an extended hug that went past the time when the student communicated a wish to break the contact.”

The court hearing was brief and Denning requested a court-appointed lawyer.

He said his next hearing is April 20.

Judge Brosey eyes retirement, Chehalis lawyer to seek election to the court

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Updated at 1:59 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – After nearly 18 years on the bench, Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey announced this morning he won’t be seeking re-election, and a local defense attorney who previously worked as a deputy prosecutor and before that as a federal law enforcement officer has declared her candidacy

Joely O’Rourke, 41, of Chehalis, said she’s excited to earn the opportunity to serve as a Superior Court judge.

“Judge Brosey’s commitment to Lewis County has been exemplary,” O’Rourke said in a news release this morning. “I’m looking forward to continuing the same dedication to public and judicial service he showed on the bench.”

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Joely O’Rourke

O’Rourke is currently in private practice, where she represents defendants at their first appearance on criminal charges in both Lewis County District Court and Lewis County Superior Court. She also serves as an attorney for the Lewis County Family Treatment Court where she represents parents in dependency actions.

The Edmonds native is a graduate of the University of Washington and Gonzaga University Law School.

From 2009 until October 2014, she worked at the Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as a deputy prosecutor in the criminal division. She says she successfully prosecuted those accused of violent offenses, specifically domestic violence assaults, sex offenses and crimes against children.

O’Rourke also served as the drug court prosecutor and was a member of a multi-disciplinary task force, a group tasked with preparing child sexual abuse cases for prosecution.

But before she was a lawyer, she was a special agent with NCIS.

Beginning in January 2003, O’Rourke investigated major crimes involving military installations ashore, abroad and afloat as a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

During her time as a special agent, O’Rourke also worked in counter-terrorism, where she was assigned as the Intelligence Liaison providing threat assessments to the commanding officer of Naval Base San Diego.

She served on the protection details for Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of the Navy Donald Winters and also for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Pakistan.

In May 2008, O’Rourke traveled to Galway, Ireland to testify as the Investigating Special Agent in a trial against an international terrorist who threatened to kill President George W. Bush and attack several US aircraft carriers.

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Judge Richard Brosey

Lewis County has three superior court judges who preside over felony and high-money civil cases.

In mid-December, Judge Nelson Hunt let it be known he was not planning to run this fall for another term, and Adna resident Andrew Toynbee announced he would seek election to the post.

Judge Brosey this morning stated he would complete his final four-year term, which ends in January.

The 67-year-old will have served as a Superior Court judicial officer for a total of 23 years.

Brosey said he’s always believed judges should serve the term for which they were elected and that they ought to retire before health or age dictates that they should.

“I will be 68 years old in December; it is time to spend more time with my wife and grandchildren and let someone else do this job,” he said in his announcement. “It has been a great honor and a pleasure to serve the citizens of Lewis County.”

The Lewis County native has presided over approximately 275 jury trials, including several of the largest and longest civil cases in county history, and has also handled numerous criminal cases, including multiple victim and “cold case” homicides.

Brosey served as the court’s first full-time court commissioner for four and a half years and was appointed July 1, 1998, by then-Gov. Gary Locke as the county’s third superior court judge after the state legislature created the position. He was elected that fall to retain the position and has subsequently been re-elected four times.

“My wife and I are looking forward to enjoying the slower pace of the next chapter of our lives,” Brosey stated.

O’Rourke resides in Chehalis with her husband, Shane O’Rourke, and their son.

Shane O’Rourke is also a local attorney and partner in the law firm of Buzzard O’Rourke in Centralia.

The O’Rourkes are actively involved in the community, including volunteering with the Chehalis School District, Chehalis Rotary, Chehalis Little League, East Lewis County Relay for Life, the Drug Court Give Back program and are both currently on the board of Lewis County Legal Aid.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016
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•••

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL EMPLOYEE ARRESTED

• Chehalis police arrested a school employee today in connection with an incident reported two weeks ago at R.E. Bennett Elementary School. Police were called on March 14 and told by school staff an employee had hugged a 9-year-old year-old student in an inappropriate manner, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Based on their investigation that included video evidence and witness interviews, police arrested 36-year-old James Denning today for fourth-degree assault, according to police. The Chehalis resident was booked into the Lewis County Jail. Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said he wasn’t sure of Denning’s job title but that he is not a teacher.

AUTO THEFT

• An officer took a report of a stolen 1997 Honda Accord at about 4:30 a.m. today from the 1800 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia. The silver car has a license plate reading 827 XOE, according to the Centralia Police Department..

• An officer on patrol at about 12:30 a.m. today located a vehicle  at the 100 block of West High Street that had been stolen from Hayden, Idaho. It appeared it had been parked there for a while before discovery, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police called about 12:45 a.m. today about a customer who could not pay for his meal at a business on Southwest Interstate Avenue in Chehalis ended up arresting the 25-year-old man from Grass Valley, California for possession of a stolen vehicle. His card had been declined and the 2008 Ford Escape he was driving belonged to the Red Cross, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Wade D. Amesbury was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning that a deputy took a report of the theft of a light blue Honda Civic from the 100 block of Shelly Drive in Centralia. The loss is about $3,000 and the car has a license plate reading AOU 2508, according to the sheriff’s office.

FUNNY MONEY

• A 28-year-old man was arrested yesterday after he allegedly tried to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at a store on the 100 block of West High Street in Centralia. The bill was rejected and he left with it but was stopped by police close by and two counterfeit bills were recovered, according to the Centralia Police Department. Shawn L Weaver, from Monroe, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for forgery, according to police.

• Centralia police took a report about 2:15 p.m. yesterday of a different suspect spending a counterfeit $100 bill at the 100 block of West High Street.

• Centralia officers conducted a search warrant on a room at Motel 6 on Belmont Avenue yesterday afternoon and recovered a printer and partially printed counterfeit $100 bills. The case is under investigation.

OTHER THEFT

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office took a report of a burglary from a church on the 1100 block of state Route 7 where the missing items included a twin bed, a night stand and a Dewalt generator. It happened sometime between March 19 and Saturday, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A 45-year-old Toledo woman was arrested for second-degree theft in connection with an 8 a.m. call on Saturday to the sheriff’s office from the 200 block of Foster Creek Road. The victim said he saw a silver vehicle dragging his piece of equipment – a core liner driller – down the road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy followed the drag marks and made contact with Jill Todd, according to the sheriff’s office. She was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

• Police yesterday morning too a report of a theft of drill bits from a house under construction at the 1200 block of G Street in Centralia.

• Centralia police were called yesterday morning about lawn ornaments stolen from the 2300 block of Scheuber Ridge Court and also from the 2500 block of Sharon Street in Centralia.

FRAUD

• A 53-year-old Chehalis area man reported to the sheriff’s office that someone took two checks from his checkbook and cashed them for $300 and $500 sometime between Feb. 15 and March 22. There is a suspect, or, person of interest, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said this morning.

CAR PROWL

• An officer was called yesterday afternoon about a vehicle prowl at the 2100 block of North National Avenue in Chehalis.

• Chehalis police were called about 8:15 a.m. yesterday to the 900 block of Southeast Washington Avenue where someone had broken into an unlocked vehicle and stolen a stereo. Another resident at the same address lost a GPS device from a second vehicle there, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• Chehalis police were called about 5:10 p.m. yesterday regarding an individual at 12th Street and McFadden Avenue who was “rocking” someone else’s vehicle and then throwing items out of a shed. Adrian J. Gillespie, 43, of Chehalis, was subsequently arrested for a drug violation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning that a 20-year-old driver was cited for speeds too fast for conditions after a single-vehicle collision about 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at the 1300 block of Bunker Creek Road. A deputy determined she failed to negotiate a curve during the heavy rain and struck a tree, according to the sheriff’s office. The female driver sustained cuts to both her hands and a possible head injury, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. Her 15-year-old passenger had back and neck pain, Brown said. Both were taken to the hospital. The 2009 Chevrolet Impala was totaled, Brown said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, shoplifting, misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, third-degree theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, March 28th, 2016
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•••

Updated at 4:34 p.m.

HOME INVASION ROBBERY REPORTED

• Chehalis police are investigating a report from about 11:37 p.m. on Saturday in which a woman on Southwest 10th Street just  just off Market Boulevard in Chehalis said three armed, masked men came in and demanded her valuables. Taken was a Playstation, a 20-inch television, a DVR, a computer, two hard drives and a flash drive, according to the Chehalis Police Department. She was not injured, according to police.

AUTO THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 1:30 p.m. yesterday to take a report of a theft of a 1998 Silver Mitsubishi Mirage from the 700 block of J Street.

• Centralia police were called at noon on Saturday to take a report of the theft of a 1993 GMC pickup truck from the 1300 block of Belmont Avenue. It had a with a license plate reading B91135X,  according to the Centralia Police Department. The truck had a rental trailer attached to it, which was located abandoned in the Federal Way area.

DRUG PARAPHERNALIA STOLEN

• A “water bong” was reported stolen from a room at a motel on the 1000 block of Eckerson Road in Centralia last night after a mutual friend had returned to the room to retrieve his belongings, according to the Centralia Police Department. After the male suspect left the bong was missing, according to police.

OTHER THEFT

• Chehalis police were called on Saturday evening to the 1300 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue about a suspected theft. The case is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called about 3:45 p.m. yesterday for a vehicle prowl at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue. Taken was a purse and credit cards, according to the Centralia Police Department. The cards had already been used by the suspect, according to police. The case is under investigation.

• Aa vehicle prowl was reported at the 1700 block of North Pearl Street about 11:30 a.m. yesterday in which numerous items were reported missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called about a vehicle prowl about 11:10 a.m. on Saturday at the 100 block of Southwest Fifth Street. Taken from the unlocked truck was a Makita cordless screwdriver, a Husky ratchet set and a wallet with its identification, bank cards and cash.

• Police were called on Saturday about an overnight car prowl on the 1000 block of Southwest 20th Street in Chehalis in which a stereo, an amplifier and bag of clothing were stolen. The vehicle had been left unlocked, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Centralia police were called just before 9 a.m. on Saturday regarding a vehicle prowl at the 1000 block of Harrison Avenue. Someone broke the car window and stole a purse, according to the Centralia Police Department. The handbag was found in the area minus its cash, according to police.

LITTLE FIRE INSIDE WINLOCK HOME

• Firefighters called at 9:10 p.m. yesterday regarding smoke at the 200 block of Shannon Lewis Lane in Winlock had to force their way into a home and found a small smoldering fire. They turned it over to law enforcement because it was a little suspicious, according to Lewis County Fire District 15. It was so small they didn’t need to use water, but picked it up and took it outside, Firefighter Patrick Jacobson said. It was like wood debris near a fireplace, he said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, shoplifting, resisting arrest, misdemeanor domestic assault, protection order violation, driving with suspended license, driving without required interlock device, third-degree malicious mischief; responses for alarm, dispute, misdemeanor  theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more, among 115 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.